GE Privacy

Introduction: protecting your privacy, enhancing your online experience

When it comes to data privacy, protecting your personal information is most important. We feel it’s also important to give you, your colleagues, and your family members a voice in the development of this web site and your overall experience with it. To do this, we need to collect certain types of information to help us evaluate how the HealthAhead web site is being used, so we can continually improve your experience and the content we offer to you. By tracking overall usage patterns, providing an easy channel for your feedback, and allowing you to tell us what content is most useful to you, we can refine our offerings and provide more of the content you personally find valuable.

Overall, we are committed to giving you the option to participate – or not participate – in a manner that’s right for you. Read more for how we do this.

Information we collect and how we use it

Identifiable Information Collecting

All methods of identifying yourself to GE will be optional and opt-in, may be updated by you at any time, and will not be required for all areas of the web site.

We will not collect any identifiable user information from the areas of the HealthAhead web site which do not require SSO (Single Sign On), unique User ID (Identification), and/or Password.

There are areas of the web site that require you to identify yourself to us (authenticate). This allows you to access certain parts of the web site that may otherwise be restricted for privacy and security purposes.

There are also areas that may provide the option to create a personalized profile. The information you provide is optional and what you tell us will determine the level of personalization you will experience.

Access to identifiable information is restricted to internal, administrative personnel and solely for purposes of providing web site support, awarding prizes and other recognition, and customizing the web site content and overall functionality for the user. However, we will also allow you to change your mind and opt-out of sharing personal information with us at any time.

Non-Identifiable Information Collecting

When you visit the HealthAhead web site, we track, collect and report on certain aggregate and non- identifiable information. In other words, the information we collect does not relate to a single identifiable visitor. It tells us things such as how many users visited our web site and what pages they viewed.

This non-identifiable data will be collected and stored in a secure database in the U.S., and may be viewed by GE. We will analyze this information to refine our web site to better reflect user preferences, such as the type of content users are searching for most, and to improve the usability of the web site and the user’s web site experience. The information may also be used for purposes of promoting the web site. The data will not be used for medical analysis or other medical purposes.


Like many web sites, the HealthAhead web site uses browser cookies – bits of text placed on your computer’s hard drive when you visit. We use them to tell us things like whether you’ve visited us before, and to help us identify features in which you may have the greatest interest. We also use cookies to track country and language selection.

In the future, we may use cookies to track additional details, such as city and state.

We keep this information unless you don’t wish GE to capture this and choose to delete your cookie history. If you wish to stop accepting new browser cookies, get notification when you receive a new cookie, or disable existing cookies, the “help” portion of the toolbar on most browsers will tell you how. Keep in mind, without browser cookies, you may not be able to take full advantage of all our web site features or have your preferences saved for future visits.

We also use Flash cookies on the web site to enhance your online experience. These are similar to browser cookies, but they store data more complex than simple text. Flash cookies, by themselves, cannot do anything to or with the data on your computer. In addition, Flash cookies cannot access or remember your email address or other personal information unless you provide the information on this web site.

Web Beacons

Certain pages on our web site contain “web beacons” (also known as Internet tags, pixel tags and clear GIFs). These web beacons obtain information such as the time the page was viewed, the type of browser used to view the page, and the information in cookies. Web beacon data does not include IP address. The web beacon data is stored at Google Analytics, a third party (see ‘Tracking and Reporting’ for more information on this technology).

Tracking and Reporting

Specifically we will track, collect and report on the following data using software from Google Analytics. For more information about Google Analytics, including information about how to opt out of these technologies, go to

Our primary metrics include: Poll response rate, repeat visits, number of times content is shared, and visits by country.

The sub-metrics include:

Most Popular Content Types, Most Popular Content Topics, User Pathing, Exit Links, Bounce Rate, Traffic by Source (region), Time on Web site, Visit Time of Day, Unique Views/Page Views, Thumps Up/Down, Most Shared Content, Number of Times Content is Rated, Most Rated Content by Type, Language Selection.

We will also be tracking how much communicators, web site leaders and other HealthAhead operations teams are leveraging the web site to support and align their business, regional and web site specific efforts. Some of these metrics may be tracked using existing support central tools.

These metrics may include:

Number of Content Submissions by Region, Number of non-corporate Driven Promotions by RCs, Number of Promotional Downloads by Region, Support Central Survey

Feedback Form

Your feedback is important to the web site’s ongoing development, so we’d love to hear your opinions and ideas. To contact us, please use this Feedback form. We will not be able to respond directly, but all feedback will be reviewed, evaluated, and factored into future content decisions. Please note: this form is monitored by IT support staff only. Please do not submit any personal or medical information. And thank you in advance!

Poll and Quiz Responses

On the web site, we will conduct polls and quizzes to better understand user activities, attitudes, interests and knowledge across multiple health topics. These polls may also help us serve you better by asking questions that relate to the usefulness of our web site. We will not capture any personally identifiable information through the collection of poll response data. As part of these polls and quizzes, we will capture responses sorted by country. In the future, we may capture responses sorted by additional anonymous demographics such as language, affiliated GE business, work web site location, gender, etc.

Sharing Content with Family and Friends

We want you to share the web site’s content with important people in your life, so most articles, videos and slideshows can be emailed. To do so, we will ask you to provide your name and the recipient’s email address. We simply use this information to send the content as you request. At this time, we do not capture or store your, or the recipient’s, email address. Please see below to learn how we track and report on email sharing activity.

Please also review GE’s Social Media Guidelines

How we protect information

GE maintains administrative, technical and physical safeguards to protect against unauthorized disclosure, use, alteration or destruction of any information you provide on this web site. We use secure socket layer (SSL) technology to help keep the information you provide on this web site secure. See ‘Information We Share’ and ‘Information We Transfer’ for additional details.

Information we share

We do not sell or otherwise disclose personal information about our visitors, except as described here. We may share information provided by visitors with service providers we have retained to perform services on our behalf. These service providers are contractually restricted from using or disclosing the information, except as necessary to perform services on our behalf or comply with legal requirements. In addition, we may disclose information about you if we are required to do so by law or legal process; to law enforcement authorities or other government officials; or when we believe disclosure is necessary or appropriate to prevent physical harm or financial loss or in connection with an investigation of suspected or actual illegal activity.

Information we transfer

We may transfer the information we collect on this web site to other countries where we do business, but only for the purposes described above. When we transfer your information to other countries, we will protect that information as described here unless otherwise required by applicable laws.

Links to other web sites

We provide links to other web sites for your convenience and information. These web sites may have their own privacy statements in place, which we recommend you review if you visit any linked web sites. We are not responsible for the content of linked web sites or any use of the web sites.

Children’s privacy

This web site is not directed to children under the age of thirteen and we do not knowingly collect personal information from children under the age of thirteen on the web site. If we become aware that we have inadvertently received personal information from a visitor under the age of thirteen, we will delete the information from our records.

Some links on this web site may take web site visitors to web sites that are directed to children. These web sites have their own privacy notices that address children’s privacy. We encourage you to read these privacy notices if you visit any linked web sites directed to children.

Updates to our privacy & data policy

This Privacy & Data Policy may be updated periodically and without prior notice to you to reflect changes in our online information practices. We will post a notice on this web site to notify you of any significant changes to our Privacy & Data Policy, and indicate at the top of this policy when it was most recently updated.

How to contact us

If you have any questions or comments about this Privacy & Data Policy, or if you would like us to update information we have about you or your preferences, please contact us by visiting our Feedback Form.

HealthAhead Mon, 11/11/2019 - 00:00
Preventing the Flu
Woman with flu

Proper vaccination combined with certain good hygiene practices can minimize your risk of getting the flu.

Influenza Vaccine
The easiest and most reliable way to avoid contracting the flu is by getting a yearly flu shot. Between 70 and 90 percent of all illnesses caused by the flu could be prevented with proper vaccination.

Type A flu viruses are most active in cooler weather, and flu season generally runs from late fall through early spring in temperate climates. Drug companies produce time the availability of the vaccine so it's widely available  before the onset of flu season, roughly  in October or November in the Northern Hemisphere.

Because flu viruses are constantly evolving, we need new vaccine formulas every year to keep up with the changes. Researchers first identify the three strains that seem most likely to be active in the upcoming flu season. Manufacturers then produce a vaccine with a mix of inactive or weakened strains that match the three active strains as closely as possible. The H1N1 vaccine was developed separately for the 2009 to
2010 flu season, but it will be included in the regular flu vaccine for the 2010 to 2011 season.

When there is a good match between the vaccine and that year's actual strains, the vaccine can be 70 to
90 percent effective in preventing illness in people younger than 65. The vaccine’s effectiveness tapers off for those over 65. Even so, it can mitigate the severity of symptoms in elderly patients and prevent life- threatening complications.

Who Should Get Vaccinated
When enough vaccine is available, everyone who is eligible should get vaccinated. When supplies of vaccine are low, it is usually recommended that high-risk groups be vaccinated in order of priority. These groups include:

  • Adults 65 and older
  • Children from 6 months to 5 years old
  • Individuals in nursing homes or chronic-care facilities
  • Persons with diabetes or heart, lung, kidney, liver, blood, or metabolic diseases
  • Pregnant women
  • Health-care workers, teachers, and caregivers
  • Individuals with weakened immune systems
  • Children 18 and under who are on long-term aspirin therapy
  • Morbidly obese people (those who have a body-mass index higher than 30)
  • Family members of any of the above groups

Once you get a vaccine shot, your body will take up to two weeks to build up full immunity. Adults should receive a single dose of vaccine at least a few weeks before the onset of flu season. Children need two doses one month apart to build full immunity. But even if you don't get your shot before the start of flu season, you can still get vaccinated throughout flu season to minimize your chances of infection.

Serious side effects from the flu vaccine are very rare, and inactive viruses cannot cause the flu. The most common side effect is soreness at the site of the injection. Children may  experience mild flu-like symptoms such as a slight fever and body aches.

Nasal Spray Vaccine
An alternative to the flu shot is a nasal spray vaccine (FluMist). The flu shot is made with inactive virus and is appropriate for most people over 6 months of age. The nasal spray, on the other hand, is made with a weakened live virus and is available for healthy individuals from age 2 to 49 who are not pregnant.

Who Should Not Get Vaccinated
While the Center for Disease Control encourages nearly everyone to get flu vaccinations, there are some people would suffer adverse effects from getting vaccinated.

1. Infants
Babies younger than 6 months old do not have fully developed immune systems and should not get vaccinated. Instead, parents and individuals who care for infants should get their shot in order to build a "cocoon" of immunity around the child. Breastfeeding of infants can result in the passage  of some protection against the flu from the breastfeeder to the baby.

2. Elderly People
Like infants, people over the age of 65 are urged not to get certain vaccinations, such as nasal-spray flu vaccinated LAIV (FluMist), due to possibly compromised immune systems. Consult your doctor before considering any vaccinations if you are over the age of 65.

3. People With Certain Allergies
People who are allergic to eggs or other components of vaccines should not receive the vaccine.

Personal Hygiene
The influenza virus spreads when people inhale the virus on the fine droplets given off when others sneeze, cough, or even just talk. The virus can also spread when you touch an infected surface like a doorknob or light switch and then touch your eyes, nose, or mouth. Apart from getting vaccinated, there are many additional ways to reduce your chances of contracting the flu.

Probably the best thing you can do is wash your hands frequently with soap and water and avoid touching your face with your hands. If soap and water aren't readily available, an alcohol-based sanitizer can be just as effective. Wash your hands after eating, using the restroom, handling dirty laundry, or cleaning dirty dishes and eating utensils. Clean and disinfect children’s toys regularly.

If the flu hits your family or community, avoid contact with people who are clearly infected or sick. Avoid large crowds and enclosed spaces. If you are in a high-risk group and you have to go out during a flu epidemic, use a respirator mask (N95 is best) to minimize your chances of inhaling the virus.

If you come down with the flu, cover your mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing and throw dirty tissues away immediately. If you don’t have a tissue, cough into your elbow, not your hand. Wash your hands frequently and stay home from work or school until your fever is gone. Avoid other people as much as possible. If you have to go out, wear a mask to protect others.